Monday, October 13, 2008

Water Flows Downhill

Emergency Preparedness and Reliance on Well Water

By John Webb

A couple of years ago when we moved from relatively urban south Metchosin to the more frontier like north end of town we discovered that we would move off the CRD water supply and onto a well. There was a drilled well on the property but no infrastructure attached. I met with a well contractor who explained the two pumps we required: one in the house to maintain water pressure and one down the well to bring up the water. It occurred to me that if the well began to run short of water in late summer or the power went out, this system design provided no backup. We could be stuck with little or no water. Instead I asked for a system where the water from the well is not pumped to the house, but to a 3,000 gallon tank up the hill from our house. This tank is automatically kept full. It then feeds downhill to the house – with or without power.

The system has worked flawlessly over the past few years, we have lots of water when we need it for daily use or in the case of extravagant summer watering, the system can then take a day or two to catch up. There is a good reserve for fire-fighting if we ever need it and in the event of lengthy power outages like those we have all shared over the past months there has been a more than adequate supply of water, albeit somewhat colder than wished.

This has been so effective I would recommend those without a holding tank to consider retrofitting if your terrain provides an adequate spot for a tank. A tank mounted on a water tower would be another idea but don’t discount the weight of the water and make sure the tower engineering compensates – a building permit would be required as well.

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